Elites and Aristocracy in Colonial and Postcolonial Sri Lanka
Abstract“Elites and Aristocracy in Colonial and Postcolonial Sri Lanka” attempts to answer two major questions: First, what is an “elite” and how can we define one? Concentrating on aristocracy and with reference to Georg Simmel, I will describe forms of social and cultural self-aggrandisement and self-construction, which have served many elites as a model and ideal type for emulation and further development. My second question is: How did the Sinhalese up-country Kandy aristocracy in Sri Lanka react to British, colonial change and how did it interact with newly emerged and much more numerous low-country elites? This interaction will be described as a process of political marginalisation of the Kandy aristocracy and of cultural emulation on the part of the new low-country and Colombo elites.
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